As Bonnie J. Rough and her husband consider becoming parents, their biological legacy haunts every decision. Confirmed a carrier of the genetic condition hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or HED, Bonnie begins a journey to uncover the complicated details of her family’s past.
At first glance, HED seems only to be a superficial condition: an unusual facial bone structure, sparse hair, few teeth, and an inability to sweat. But a closer look reveals the source of a lifetime of infections, breathing problems, and drug dependency for Bonnie’s grandfather Earl, who suffered from the disorder. After a boyhood as a small-town oddity and an adulthood fraught with disaster, Earl died penniless and alone at the age of forty-nine. Bonnie’s mother was left with an inheritance that included not just the gene for HED, but also the emotional pain that came from witnessing her father’s misery.
In a time when genetic testing offers answers that can lead to excruciating decisions, even forgoing a test is a deliberate choice. Caught between science and the heart, Bonnie and her husband find themselves faced with a modern moral crisis—and one that ultimately reveals the eternal tension between past and future.
See a new author profile on Literary Mama.
Watch Bonnie’s live interview on KOMO TV News.
Listen to Bonnie’s interview with Liane Hansen on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Read a column about Carrier from the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Take in an interview with the author on the Mother Words blog.
Listen to Bonnie on the Good Enough Moms podcast.
Hear a Carrier interview on KAXE’s Real Good Words.
Read a feature about the author and Carrier from The Daily News.
Read a brief interview with the author from Seattle Met magazine.
Check out a self-interview written by the author for The Nervous Breakdown.